Grasses for autumn / winter borders

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Grasses are the glue that holds many gardens together, adding texture and movement through summer, then body, drama and colour from late August through to December. Ornamental grasses are also great at filling out beds and borders when they become sparser during the winter months. Generally happy in pots but definitely provide more impact as part of a border planting scheme.

An autumnal display of ornamental grasses in a supporting role to the leading lady – the fiery Japanese maple

Deciduous grasses are the way to go in terms of colour progression with their autumnal toasted golden – brown hues. There are several that lose their verdant colour in the autumn but keep their foliage and therefore perfect for providing good coverage and winter interest. Stipa gigantea (Golden Oats) and Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ are good examples.

Our top picks:

Cortaderia selloana is easy to grow and adds instant height and depth. The silvery or pink tinged flower panicles are also excellent for drying and bringing into the home as a floral arrangement.

Cortaderia selloana add instant height and drama

There is also a way to create the grass like affect using perennials such as Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ (always best to plant grouped together in multiples to create maximum impact) and Phormium.

A newly planted border incorporating Carex oshimensis ‘Everest’ and Phormium ‘Rainbow Maiden’
Calamagrostis × acutiflora

Grasses are a simple but effective way to retain shape and colour during the winter months. They are the bare bones of the garden at this time of year.

If you need help updating an existing border or creating a new one then our “At Home” Consultancy Service might be just the thing <find out more>

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